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ASUS ROG Phone is yet another gaming smartphone, but is it a gimmick?

Shoulder triggers and a side-mounted USB Type-C port are just a few standout features here.

Published onJune 4, 2018

Update (06/11/18): ASUS has confirmed a few more details about the ROG Phone, starting with the cameras. A company representative said the phone has the same camera setup as the Zenfone 5Z (12MP and 8MP wide angle), so it’s not an entirely new design.

Moving to the durability side of things, we didn’t hear anything about water/dust resistance at the reveal event. This is because the IP rating is still being finalized, according to the representative. He added that the ROG Phone will resist “standard everyday usage,” which sounds like IP67 or IP68 ratings are out of the window.

Read Next: Hands on with the ASUS ROG

The new phone also packs a large 4,000mAh battery, but what can we expect in terms of endurance (especially with the faster Snapdragon silicon)? The representative says we can look forward to 11.5 hours of video playback over Wi-Fi, 40 hours of music streaming over Wi-Fi, and up to seven hours of gaming while on Wi-Fi.

Original article: ASUS has announced the ROG Phone at Computex 2018 in Taiwan, marking the latest entry in the gaming smartphone category.

The ASUS ROG Phone, ASUS’ first device to feature its Republic of Gamers (ROG) branding, packs a 2.96Ghz Snapdragon 845 chipset (ASUS claims it’s the “world’s fastest speed-binned” Snapdragon 845), up to 8GB of RAM, up to 512GB of storage, and a 4,000mAh battery.

ASUS has also delivered a 6-inch 2,160 x 1,080 HDR display with 90Hz refresh rate and a claimed response time of 1ms. It’s not quite 120Hz like the Razer Phone, but at least you’re getting AMOLED technology as well.

Other specs include a 12MP regular plus 8MP wide-angle rear camera pairing, 8MP selfie camera, dual front-facing stereo speakers, NFC support, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and (of course) customizable RGB lighting.

Gaming-related features?

ASUS Rog gaming phone front and back against black background.

Interestingly enough, ASUS has added three AirTrigger ultrasonic touch sensors on the phone. These essentially give you shoulder triggers when holding the phone in landscape fashion. The company adds that the triggers are programmable in games, but they can also be used to launch specific apps and toggle tasks. ASUS cited one-handed mode as one possible toggle for the AirTriggers.

6.0-inch, 18:9, 2160x1080, AMOLED with 90Hz refresh rate
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chip @2.96GHz
Qualcomm Adreno 630
Android 8.1 Oreo with custom "ROG Gaming" ZenUI skin
128GB / 512GB
Rear camera
12MP + 8MP (120-degree wide-angle)
Front camera
Fingerprint scanner
4,000mAh, USB Type-C, 20W fast charging
Dual front-facing stereo speakers with smart amplifier
Accelerometer, e-compass, proximity sensor, Hall sensor, ambient-light sensor,
fingerprint sensor, gyroscope, 2 x ultrasonic AirTriggers
802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ad 2x2 MIMO
Wi-Fi Direct and WiGig 802.11ad wireless display support
Bluetooth 5.0 and NFC, 3.5mm headphone jack
158.8 x 76.2 x 8.6mm

The whacky decisions don’t stop there, as the phone has a side-mounted pair of USB Type-C ports for optional WiGig gaming functionality. This is in addition to a standard USB Type-C port at the bottom.

Another noteworthy gaming-related feature is X Mode. And yes, much like other gaming phones, this is essentially a performance mode for the ROG Phone. The company says X Mode raises the minimum clock speed and restricts tasks to the four fastest cores.

A range of accessories

ASUS Rog Phone gaming smartphone in hands from behind.

ASUS has announced several peripherals for the ROG Phone too, such as the AeroActive Cooler device, a TwinView handheld dock with a secondary display and 6,000mAh battery (seen above), a traditional desktop dock, and a third-party GameVice controller with WiGig functionality so you can play on an external display.

Now, if you were thinking it would be great if one of these accessories was included in the box, I’d completely agree; the controller, right? Touch controls are obviously the go-to choice for mobile gaming, but there are loads of games that would benefit from the superior dexterity offered by a gamepad. As it happens, ASUS has supplied an accessory with the device — it’s just chosen the wrong one. Unfathomably, the device comes with the AeroActive Cooler.

Nevertheless, the company confirmed plans to release a version of the phone that comes with a suitcase. And yes, inside the suitcase you’ll find all the accessories.

ASUS Rog Phone gaming smartphone in hands from behind in half case.

ASUS hasn’t addressed the potential issue of exclusive games, which means it probably didn’t have any on-hand. Gaming systems live and die by their content library (mobile platforms are no exception), and the Play Store indeed has a huge library of games. But what’s available on Google’s store is also available to thousands of other phone models around the world.

NVIDIA has previously laid down the blueprint for a gaming-oriented Android device, in the form of its Shield family. The company has managed to deliver plenty of PC to Shield ports in the process, such as Half-Life 2, Tomb Raider and Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3. It would’ve been great to see ASUS leverage this library (or create its own initiative) to offer a truly unique gaming library.

The best Android games
Software lists
ASUS ROG Phone 2 Gaming fo screen at angle

The ASUS ROG Phone will also be going up against a few other gaming smartphones, such as Xiaomi’s Black Shark, the Razer Phone, and the nubia REDMAGIC. It’s unclear what kind of price the phone will have, but it’ll need to be competitive to ensure supremacy over these rivals.

The ROG Phone is slated for a Q3 2018 launch, in 128GB and 512GB options.

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